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In the Context of Empire

In the Context of Empire

By Jonathan Lancaster and Matthew McKenna
A podcast where two social studies teachers discuss history, American empire, US politics and their own lives. Traditional narratives regarding American history are challenged in a tone that ranges from playful to hostile.
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Episode 23: Calculating the Immense Destruction of the War on Terror with Dr. Neta C. Crawford

In the Context of Empire

Episode 33: This Film has Been Modified to Meet Imperial Demands with Tom Secker
Jon and Matt were joined by Tom Secker to speak about an aspect of  imperialism that often flies under the radar, while being essential to the functioning of the empire. This episode focuses on  the propaganda spread though movies and television shows that is crucial for the expansion of the warfare state. Films and shows may seem benign but often serve to manufacture societal consent and tolerance for imperial violence.  Tom is an expert on the perverse influence that the US national security state has over popular entertainment. He is the author of National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood,  and the host of Clandestime  podcast.  He has a new documentary coming out, Theatres of Command.  All of Tom's  work can be found at Discussed in this Episode: - Tom's background and interest in propaganda - The various ways and scale that the Pentagon and CIA influence movie and television production (hint.. it's not about money!) - The unexpected  genres that there is still a Pentagon presence; IE in the script of Pitch Perfect 3 - The tragically comical cases of Jurassic Park 3, Contact,  and other strange cases of Pentagon messaging in films - The consequences producers face for not accepting Pentagon/CIA assistance  - The  measurable extreme success of nat. sec. propaganda through films/shows.  - How to enjoy movies and shows without falling victim to imperial propaganda Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 18, 2021
Episode 32: Tearing Down the Bipartisan Imperial Consensus with Daniel Bessner
Jon and Matt were joined by Dr. Daniel Bessner to discuss the need to challenge the bipartisan consensus on US foreign policy. Dr. Bessner currently holds the Joff Hanauer Honors Professorship in Western Civilization at the University of Washington. He is a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.  He also the author of Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual  More of Dr. Bessner's writing can be found in Jacobin, the New York Times,  and his blog, Foreign Exchanges Discussed in this Episode: - The bipartisan imperial consensus and its destructive consequences. - Daniel's article for the New York Times, What Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Think About the South China Sea? - The need for progressive politicians to include anti imperialist foreign policy as part of their platform - The total lack of accountability for foreign policy failures/war criminality  - Defense intellectual: How the allegedly most intelligent officials from the best schools have created disastrous foreign policy - Daniel's article Build back Better at Foreign Exchanges, predictions and hopes for the Biden administration  - The need to  join the International Criminal Court, dissolve NATO, and pardon whistleblowers Our Work:  Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 15, 2021
Episode 31: A Revolutionary Moment with Makasi Motema
Jon and Matt were joined by Makasi Motema to discuss the current situation in the US and  the potential for revolution. Makasi is a Marxist Leninist activist and writer living in the New York City area. His work can be found at Workers World.   Discussed in this Episode:  - Makasi's political development  -  The situation in the  US in 2021 that Makasi poses make the nation ripe for revolution. He wrote about this in his recent article.  - How to argue against some of the major accusations made about socialist/communist countries - Why we should never believe/repeat US government claims about alleged US enemy nations - Enough with the fetishization of the Nordic countries as the "ideal" socialism  Makasi's Work: Please Support Him! Makasi's latest article, Is the United States Facing a Revolutionary Situation All of Makasi's writing can be found at Workers World  Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 11, 2021
Episode 30: Insurrection Reflections
Jon and Matt were joined by their coworker, friend, and occasional cohost, Dan to discuss the recent insurrection in the capitol. Discussed in this Episode: - Initial reactions - Garbage mainstream media media takes - God dammit,  stop making "banana republics" and "third world" comparisons as if they aren't racist & obfuscating of American imperialism! - No one ever needs to hear the opinion of George W. Bush again - International perspective: This is exactly the kind of attempted right wing coup the US typically supports  - Is right wing extremism really "not who we are?"... because it really seems like it is - The myopia of focusing on the individuals who stormed the capitol and even Trump himself rather then systemic critiques of capitalism and empire Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 8, 2021
Episode 29: Deflating Anti-Venezuela Propaganda with Leonardo Flores
Jon and Matt were honored to be joined by Leonardo Flores to discuss some of the many misconceptions that have been propagated by the US government about Venezuela and the Chavista movement.  Leonardo is  the Latin America campaign coordinator and and analyst on U.S.-Venezuela relations  for  Code Pink  His writing has appeared in Common Dreams. Discussed in this Episode:  - Leonardo's background and interest in US- Venezuela relations - The reality of pre-Chavez Venezuela - Hugo Chavez, his political development, and rise to power - The root of US enmity toward the Chavez and Maduro governments - The accomplishments of the Chavez government in terns of social advancements - The truth about Venezuelan elections - Maduro's background and rise in Venezuelan politics  - The US's weaponization of human rights against Venezuela - The horrible effects of US sanctions on Venezuelans - American's inability to understand how constant US meddling might lead to restriction of some freedoms - The development of US policy toward Venezuela through George W, Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump - Leonardo's predictions for the Biden administration's treatment of Venezuela - Hopes for the future of Venezuela Leonardo's Work: Please Support him! Among other very important projects, Leonardo is currently working on The Good Neighbor Policy at Code Pink  Articles by Leonardo can be found at Common Dreams Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 5, 2021
Episode 28: The Truth About the War in Afghanistan with Dr. Anand Gopal
Jon and Matt were honored to speak with Dr. Anand Gopal about some of the  false assumptions  Americans hold about the United States' war in Afghanistan. Anand is a journalist, Assistant Research Professor at the Center on the Future of War at ASU. Fellow with the International Security Program at the New America Foundation, and Author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes Discussed in this Episode: - Anand's background and unconventional route to becoming a journalist and author covering America's wars - Some relevant history regarding Afghanistan - The truth about the Taliban and Al Qaeda relationship - The Taliban vs. the Northern Alliance: Who exactly was the US aligned with and who was it fighting? - Why the war was totally avoidable to begin with, and even after it started could have been over by December 2001  - Anand's lack of surprise about the revelations of the Afghanistan Papers - Countering the excuses for why the US continues to occupy Afghanistan. (terrorism, treatment of women)  - Anand's hopes for Afghanistan's future Dr. Gopal's Work: Please Support Him! Anand's Book:No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes Recent Article in the New Yorker: America's War on Syrian Civilians Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 1, 2021
Episode 27: Avoiding Peace at All Costs with Scott Horton
Jon and Matt were joined by Scott Horton to speak about the many ways by which the American war machine is not only counterproductive,  but  the cause of  (and In the minds of policy makers the solution to) so many of our foreign "challenges" Scott is the Host of the Scott Horton Show, editorial director of, the director of the Libertarian Institute, and the author of Fools Errand- Time to End the War in Afghanistan Discussed in this Episode:  - Scotts background and how he became such a prolific voice in the antiwar movement - Summaries disasters that the United States has created in Afghanistan and Syria, and why it has all been unnecessary - The shift  of US policy in the Middle East that began in 2007 that explains much of the current disasters in Syria, Iraq and Yemen  (see the Seymour Hersh's article,  The Redirection to read more on this shift)  - The concepts of blowback and backdraft and how US wars make Americans less safe - Scott's biggest concerns about the Biden administration Scott's Work: Please support him! The Libertarian Institute Scott's website and show Read Scotts book,  Fools Errand- Time to End the War in Afghanistan for a comprehensive breakdown of the futility of the War in Afghanistan.  Read Scott's upcoming book, Enough Already for a comprehensive breakdown of all of Americas disastrous wars since the Carter administration Our Work Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 28, 2020
Episode 26: Reckoning with The Destruction of Forever War with Dr. David Vine
Jon and Matt were joined by Dr. David Vine to discuss the perpetual warfare state that the U.S has been since even before its independence.  For its 244 years history, there have only been 11 years for which the United States was not engaged in military combat. These wars have almost all been offensive in nature, have killed tens of millions of people, and destroyed the lives of exponentially more.  The history of the United States is a history of aggressive war. We need to have a reckoning with this blood soaked past.  Dr. Vine is a professor of political anthropology at American University, a board member on the Costs of War Project, a co founder of the Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition,  and the author of Base Nation, The United States of War, Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia. Specifically Discussed:  - David's background and his development of an interest in exposing the imperial history of the United States - The ways in which the US is an empire and the various phases of that imperialism - The aggressive nature of nearly all US wars - Debunking the myth that the massive size of the Department of War and its 800 foreign bases does anything in terms of defense of the United States - The inseparable nature of racism and war - The need for truth and reconciliation and accountability for the mass death and destruction caused the our imperial wars of aggression David's Work: Please Support Him! David's Website David's books: Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia., Base Nation, and The United States of War,  Our Work Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 24, 2020
Episode 25: Breaking Down the Methods of the World's Leader in Foreign Interference with Stephen Kinzer
Jon and Matt were joined by Stephen Kinzer to speak about the  United States' near constant interference in other countries.  Stephen is a former New York times Foreign correspondent, a current columnist for the Boston Globe and a Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute . He is also the author of many books including: Overthrow, Bitter Fruit, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire and most recently Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control. Specifically Discussed: - Stephen's background as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times and how it catalyzed him to start writing about the history of US imperialism - The United States is the world's leader in foreign interference (and no one is even close)  - What Americans do not seem to understand about Russia - The methods by which the United States interferes in foreign governments  - The role of disinformation in both the targeted nations and the American public - How  alleged human rights abuses of targeted nations are weaponized  by the US to push imperial actions and do exponentially more harm than the original allegations The American exceptionalism mindset: "We are the first nation in the world that has managed to marry virtue and power” -  Could American foreign policy ever create positive outcomes? - Stephen's prognostications for interference that the United States is currently undertaking - Stephen's prognostications for a Biden administration Stephen's Work: Please support him! Check out his books including:  Overthrow, Bitter Fruit, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire and most recently Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control. All of Stephens latest work can be found at his website  Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 21, 2020
Episode 24: The Mythical "Radical Left" Educators Have Arrived
This episode can be classified as an act of defiance to Jon's own recent article, in which he dismantled the myth of the "radical left educator." For this conversation, Jon and Matt spoke with two of these allegedly mythical beings, Dan (a social studies teacher) and Zach (an English teacher).  They discussed a variety of topics centered around their own leftwing politics and its implications for their profession..  Specifically Discussed: - Where do they stand now? How do Zach, Dan, Jon and Matt categorize themselves politically? What specific issues animate them? - The problems with capitalism: What myths seems to persist about the alleged benefits of capitalism over other systems? - The ways in which left wing political ideologies influence their teaching - The limits of traditional education and Imagining a different future and alternative methods for teaching Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 16, 2020
Episode 23: Calculating the Immense Destruction of the War on Terror with Dr. Neta C. Crawford
Jon, Dan and Matt were honored to speak with Dr. Neta C. Crawford about the utter destruction that has been caused by the United States' 2 decade "War on Terror." Dr. Crawford is the co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University, Professor and Chair of Political Science at Boston University,  and the author of several books including Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America's Post-9/11 Wars. Specifically discussed: Dr. Crawford's background with regards to her interest in revealing the toll of American militarism Human costs: direct and indirect deaths, injuries (physical and psychological)   Living Under Drones- study of psychological damage of drone war on civilians Financial Costs- trillions spent, huge deficits, opportunity costs to US citizens- infrastructure, education, healthcare etc.  The environmental costs: The US military's shocking fossil fuel consumption,  greenhouse gas emissions of other ways in which the Pentagon causes extreme degradation of the environment  Dr. Crawford's Work. Please Support Her! The Costs of War Project  Costs and Consequences of US Post-9/11 Wars: Focus on Climate Change- Video Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War-  Paper Dr Crawford's book: Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America's Post-9/11 Wars  Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 14, 2020
Episode 22: No Seriously, They Actually Are War Criminals with. Dr. Rebecca Gordon
While Matt is often quick to label US officials, "war criminals," he does so without having done the requisite legal scholarship.  In this episode however, Jon and Matt were lucky enough to speak with Dr. Rebecca Gordon about her research of the many war crimes and violations of international law that the United States has committed since 2001.  Specifically discussed: Dr. Gordon's background and her her development of an interest in demanding justice for victims of injustice at the hand of the US empire  The Nuremberg Trials- What they were, why they were  historically significant , where they came up short the United States vs The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court  Crimes of the War on Terror- Torture, offensive war  Some of the American officials who should be prosecuted  The Russell Tribunals and hopes for similar procedures for the War on Terror Dr. Gordon's Work. Please Support Her! American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 9, 2020
Episode 21: Waging Peace with David Swanson
Jon and Matt were honored to speak with David Swanson, prolific anti-war activist, journalist, executive director of World Beyond War, and campaign coordinator for He is also the author of many books including War is a Lie and Leaving World War II Behind.  David has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize and is a tireless advocate for ending US militarism  Specifically discussed: - Matt's newest article and how it is that America historically and currently has created all of its foreign policy problems - David's background and motivations for antiwar activism - Some common lies that are told regarding war both broadly and about specific conflicts -The mythologies and wrong lessons that Americans believe about their country's role in WWII - How the US fueled the rise of Hitler and Nazism - Why we should be saying "Thank you for your service" to the troops - Changing the culture and language around war, IE "Defense Contractor" to "Merchant of Death" - David's concerns about the likely Biden foreign policy team - Neera Tanden's infamous email wherein she suggests that Libya should pay for the privilege of being destroyed by the United States  David's Work. Please Support Him! World Beyond War David's Website David's Books: War is a lie,  Leaving World War II Behind and many more. Our Work: Matt's newest article: America is to Blame for America's Foreign Policy Problems Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 6, 2020
Episode 20: Civility is Overrated! Confronting Warmongers with Medea Benjamin
Jon and Matt were honored to be joined by Medea Benjamin, long time peace activist and author. Medea is the co founder of the women led peace organization, Code Pink.  She has has authored books including, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection. Medea's writing also appears regularly in the outlets, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, CommonDreams, Alternet, and The Hill. Specifically discussed: - Medeas background and motivations for antiwar activism - Why civility and decency are overrated! Code Pink has a  propensity for up close (verbal)  confrontations with war criminals like  Henry Kissinger, John McCain and Elliot Abrams. The groups often confronts them at their offices, congressional hearings and even their houses! - Why  to defending Palestinian rights IS NOT antisemitic - Why sanctions are a form of war that are  as, if not more deadly than conventional warfare  - Concerns about Joe Biden and his cabinet - Why we should NOT view the female picks for running the war machine as a feminist victory - Why we need to be skeptical of the way that claims of human rights abuses are weaponized by the war machine - Advice for for getting involved in antiwar activism  Some of Media Benjamin and Code Pink's Work: Please Support Her Activism! Medea and Code Pink attempt an arrest of Henry Kissinger.. John McCain was not amused Medea confronts Barack Obama over drones and Guantanamo Support Code Pink and their work here  Code Pink's Campaign to prevent Michelle Flournoy's nomination Check Out Her Books:Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, Inside Iran and Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns. *Editor's note. About a third of the way into the episode, Jon lost internet temporarily and we had to switch recording devices. There is a slight difference in sound for the last 2/3rd's
December 3, 2020
Episode 19: The Foundational Racism of the American Empire with Dr. Gerald Horne
Jon and Matt were fortunate to be joined by Dr. Gerald Horne to discuss the  foundational racism deeply embedded in the American experiment. Dr. Horne holds the  Moores Professorship of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston. He is the author of many books including: The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism:  The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy and Capitalism in Seventeenth Century North America and the Caribbean, The Counter-Revolution of 1776:  Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, The White Pacific: U.S. Imperialism and Black Slavery in the South Seas After the Civil War Specifically discussed: -Dr. Horne's background and how he developed a propensity for challenging the mythologies of the American experiment.  - The reason we should view the American war for independence as a counter revolution rather than a revolution  - The inconvenient fact about marginalized groups often fighting on the side of  US adversaries in American wars - The connection between the paranoia produced in the planter class by the Haitian revolution and the fear produced in US elites by anti colonial movements in of the 20th century - Complicating the legacies the the Anti Slavery movement (including Lincoln himself)  - Refuting the merits of constitutional "originalism" - Challenging the notion that Donald J Trump as a unique figure in US history - The history of black celebrities being the target of right wing animosity from Paul Robeson to Colin Kaepernick - Hope for modern movements for racial justice and the threat of co-option by corporations and other historically oppressive institutions.  Dr. Horne's' Work: Please Support Him!  Dr. Horne's extensive (he has written over 30 books catalogue of writing can be found here New book coming out 12/20/2020- The Bittersweet Science: Racism Racketeering and the Political Economy of Boxing Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 25, 2020
Episode 18: Uncle Sam's Destructive Hand in the Middle East with Dr. Stephen Zunes
Jon and Matt were privileged to have Dr. Stephen Zunes share his wealth of knowledge about the Middle East and the Unites States' destructive history in the region. Stephen is expert on the Middle East and US foreign policy and current a professor of politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco. Specifically discussed: - The disastrous US war in Iraq ( The Persian Gulf War)  - As if anyone still needs to learn....the 2003 invasion of Iraq was based on lies... and many people (including Dr. Zunes) knew this AT THE TIME - Joe Biden's deep complicity in and lack of contrition for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq - Americans have a fundamental misunderstanding about terrorism - An evaluation of the Obama administration's record in the Middle East - Trump's record in the Middle East and the charlatan nature of  his "antiwar" posturing - Dr. Zunes' critique of Joe Biden's foreign policy and why the president elect's claims about his Iraq vote should be be believed - A lesser known example of the US thwarting independence movement in West Sahara Dr. Zunes' Work: Please Support Him! Article mentioned in podcast: The Gulf War: 8 myths Author of the Books: Tinderbox, and Western Sahara:War Nationalism& Conflict Irresolution Much of Dr. Zunes work can be found at his website  Our Work: Jon's recent article: Tackling the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns. 
November 23, 2020
Episode 17: Blood Money and Other Corrupting Forces in the MIC with Dr. Ben Freeman
"You start to follow the money, and you don't know where the fuck it's gonna take you." - Lester Freaman from The Wire Jon and Matt were honored to be joined by Dr. Ben Freeman  (no relation to Lester) for a further discussion of the corruption within the military-industrial-congressional complex. Ben is the direc­tor of the For­eign Influ­ence Trans­paren­cy Ini­tia­tive at the Center for International Policy  He is especially adept at exposing the role of private contractor and foreign money in influencing the creation of destructive US foreign policies.  He is the author of The Foreign Policy Auction. Specifically discussed: - Jon's recent article breaking down the waste and opportunity cost of Pentagon spending and the military-industrial- congressional complex  - Ben's background: How did he develop such an interest and talent for tracking the money within the military industrial complex? - The countries that have significant influence on US politics.. hint, it's not Russia! - The influence wielded by he for profit weapons industry and foreign actors through the funding of think tanks - The other nefarious ways through which US foreign policy is influenced by the arms industry and foreign actors - Ben's rejection of Biden's solution to curb foreign influence and a proposal for a better solution - Some concerns regarding the incoming Biden foreign policy team Ben's Work: Please Support Him! Report:  U.S. Government and Defense Contractor Funding of America’s Top 50 Think Tanks  Report : Foreign Funding of Think Tanks in America Report: Japan's Influence in America  Ben's article about nuclear weapons profiteers: Nuclear Weapons Profiteers are Driving the Nukes Debate Ben's book: The Foreign Policy Auction Our Work: Jon's recent article : Tackling the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 20, 2020
Episode 16: The Pathology of American Exceptionalism with (Ret.) U.S Army Major Danny Sjursen
Jon and Matt were privileged to be joined by retired US Army Major turned prolific antiwar writer, Danny Sjursen. This conversation focused on Major Sjursen's critiques of the pathologies of US empire & American exceptionalism. These are perspectives that are informed by Sjursen's own experiences within the US war machine along with his extensive historical research.  Specifically discussed: - Matt's recent article about reframing Veterans Day - Danny's background: How he transitioned from a budding neocon to one of the most prolific antiwar writers and activists  - Reframing patriotism: Danny breaks down the different types of American patriotism and encourages a shift to a definition oriented around holding one's nation to a high standard of behavior while rejecting blind loyalty and jingoism - Danny's outlook on the obstacles facing antiwar activism: Civilian detachment from US wars,  the invisibility of of US militarism, the need for cross political engagement - Commentary on which recent president was most detrimental to antiwar activism: Obama for  masterfully (but quietly) expansion of  US imperialism OR Trump, whose presidency has seen liberals cozy up to neocons and the intelligence agencies? - Speculation for a Biden presidency with regards to  militarism  - The reason why "woke" imperialism needs to be destroyed as an idea.  - A Staten Island (Shaolin) native's picks for best Wu tang artist and album Danny Sjursen's Work: Please Support Him! All of Danny's writing can be found at his website, Check out Danny's books: Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge and   Patriotic Dissent Listen to his podcast, Fortress on a Hill  Specifically mentioned in this episode : Danny's breakdown  on the FOAH episode of the foreign policy of Joe Biden and his recent article for analyzing  (and eviscerating) the likely Biden foreign policy officials  Our Work: Matt's recent article : A Tribute to the Veterans* of America’s Wars Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 18, 2020
Episode 15: Taking on the Mythologies of the Permanent War State with Dr. Gareth Porter
Jon and Matt were honored to be joined by Dr. Gareth Porter, historian and investigative journalist, to debunk some of the prevailing myths that serve to perpetuate the permanent war state. Specifically discussed: - Gareth's background: How he become so adept at debunking the myths propagated by the national security state - The truth about the "moderate rebels" that the Us armed and funded in Syria- The truth about the constantly repeated allegation of  Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan, and the journalistic malpractice that was displayed by mainstream outlets in reporting this story.  - Gareth 's hypothesis as to why good national security journalism is rare Gareth Porter's Work: Please Support Him! Some of his early work dispelling the Nixon admin's lie about the alleged bloodbath if the North Vietnamese took Saigon Articles in the Nation and Harpers dispelling the myth regarding Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions Interview with Al Jazeera dispelling nuclear weapons allegations Dispelling the myth about Iran having killed 600 US soldiers in Iraq (not mentioned in episode but relevant to the conversation) How America Armed Terrorists in Syria - NIE report 2007 on Iran WMD- NYT A breakdown of the journalistic malpractice in the mainstream reporting about the alleged "Russian bounties" Read his books, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam and Manufactured Crisis All of Gareth Porter's current work can be found at the Grayzone. Other Content Mentioned in this Episode: Iran has NEVER had a nuclear weapons program  DIA reported connections likely Salafi influence in opposition in 2012 - Rat Line from Libya to Syria - Hilary Clinton “AQ is on our side” - John Kerry acknowledged they knew about rise of ISIS - Joe Biden acknowledged problem of allies arming extremists, BBC affirms Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 13, 2020
Episode 14: Bipartisan War Crimes- A Discussion of American Complicity in Genocide in Yemen with Dr. Shireen Al- Adeimi
Jon and Matt are joined by Dr. Shireen Al-Adeimi to discuss the genocidal war in Yemen, and the United States’ deep complicity in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Dr. Al-Adeimi is a Yemeni American who currently works as an assistant professor of education at Michigan State University. She also devotes much of her time to activism directed toward ending the conflict in Yemen. Her writing can be found at In These Times, and she has made appearances on Democracy Now. Specifically discussed: Origins of the conflict- How the United States became so involved in the affairs Yemen and the  specific actions is the US guilty of in this war Cost of the war: best estimates of death tolls from both US supported bombing and  blockade Why both Barack Obama and Trump should be prosecuted for war crimes Suggestions for teaching about this disaster to young students Suggestions for antiwar activism Connections between domestic racism and US militarism abroad  Shireen’s Work: Please Support Her! A breakdown of the history of the conflict Elizabeth Warren’s disappointing response to the conflict Shireen’s article critiquing Samantha Power Joint article with Sarah Lazare about the connections between militarism abroad and racist policing at home Shireen’s Twitter handle. Follow her! Donate to:  Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation Other Sources Mentioned in this Episode: From Wikileaks:The US and Saleh conspired to have Yemeni government claim credit/blame for American bombings in Yemen. NYT-  "Long Bloody and Indecisive”- The Obama admin knew this conflict would be a disaster yet still committed to it Obama admin knew they could be implicated in war crimes yet continued war for nearly 2 years UN estimated that death toll with reach 233,000 by 2020, ACLED acknowledges 112000 deaths UN had estimated that 10,000 Yemenis had been killed by April 2016. Obama continued the war anyway The companies that profit from genocide  From the BBC: United States has been on the same side as Al Qaeda in this conflict and this has been known since 2016 Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 6, 2020
Episode 13: Some 740 Billion Dollar Questions with Stephen Semler
Jon and Matt are joined by Stephen Semler to discuss the "Defense" budget. Stephen is the co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute. He also publishes the newsletter, Speaking Security where he scrutinizes the military industrial complex, and promotes ideas for a progressive US foreign policy. Specifically discussed:  - The Pentagon budget: How much goes to private contractors? How much goes to "the troops?" Why is this a problem? - How sanitizing language like "defense," "overseas contingency operations," and :"contractor" allows for an extremely destructive foreign policy - The biggest welfare queens of the arms industry - Why progressive politicians such as "The Squad" have a special responsibility on these issues - How  American Exceptionalism, the belief in US' "good intentions," and the assumption that the US should be the arbiter of morality to the world enable the permanent war state  - Why it is a fallacy to believe that pouring exorbitant sums of money into "defense is either supporting the troops or keeping Americans safe - Would reinstitution of the draft serve to radically change US foreign policy? Are there other ways to bridge civilian-military divide? - Why labeling progressive skeptics of American militarism as "isolationists" is incredibly inaccurate -  Stephen's policy prescriptions for dismantling the military industrial congressional think tank complex Stephen's Information: Please Support His Work! Security Policy Reform Institute (SPRI) - Grassroots funded (No defense industry $!)  think tank that Stephen cofounded to promote progressive Foreign Policy. Support them on Patreon! Follow SPRI on Twitter! Stephen's newsletter "Speaking Security" Subscribe for regular, concise, and incredibly informative articles Stephen's Twitter handle. Follow him! Mentioned in this Episode: The military is the most trusted Institution in American society The "Bear Patrol" on the Simpsons is the perfect analogue for the Pentagon budget The United States has been at war for all but 11 years of its history  The real cost of this extremely high military for the American people  Neera Tanden (President of Center for American Progress think tank) suggests that Libya should pay back the United States with its oil revenue Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 5, 2020
Episode 12: A Dispatch Before the Impending Chaos
On the Thursday preceding the 2020 presidential election, Jon and Matt sit down for a discussion of the impending chaos. Seeing as there is already enough existing evidence of what a Trump presidency looks like, the focus of this episode is mostly centered on the potential of a Biden presidency. Specifically discussed: -Biden’s terrible record on domestic and foreign policy - Jon’s theory that Biden’s current policy is in essence all an effort to fix his past mistakes - Matt’s not buying Joe Biden’s BS about his Iraq decision - Matt’s concern about Biden's likely cabinet picks - Jon’s hope and skepticism about Biden’s domestic platform - How progressives should react to a Biden presidency Mentioned in the this Episode: CEPR Report on Bolivia 2019 Election- Reveals OAS and US allegations of misconduct to be false Worth the Price- Short documentary about Biden’s leading role in ensuring the 2003 invasion of Iraq Biden gives George Bush the Liberty Medal- You know, the likely reaction you’d have if you believed someone lied you into a war that resulted in your own son’s death Nothing Will Fundamentally Change!- Joe assures America’s parasitic class that it’s all good America is an Oligarchy- BBC article summarizing 2014 Princeton study Obama admits that he governed as a moderate Republican- All leftists respond, “Yea… we know.” Obama brags about his service to the industry killing the planet Yea but he was so cool about it! Biden’s potential GOP cabinet- Shocker.. Obama’s Shit Show in Libya- He admitted it! Michelle Flournoy- A hawk’s hawk Nicholas Burns- Failing upward through the foreign policy establishment Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
October 30, 2020
Episode 11: Debate Reactions...These People are so Damn Predictable.
In a unique episode of In the Context of Empire, Jon and Matt tune into the second presidential debate of 2020. between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.  The episode was recorded in the  minutes both immediately before and after the shit show that was this exchange between these decrepit, rotting, old men.  Episode 11 starts with predictions as to  what would be discussed, what would be avoided, and how each candidate will conduct themselves.  After the debate Jon and Matt evaluate their own predictions... spoiler.. they were mostly correct!  Specifically discussed: - The complete lack of productive conversation on foreign policy  - How jingoism is pervasive in nearly every debate topic - Jon's take on Biden's somewhat progressive policies for the environment - Why Trump is unfortunately correct in his characterization of his relationship with Russia  - How it is that we know that neither candidate believes healthcare is a right - The RIGHT reasons to criticize Trump and Russia ('s not because he's "Putin's Puppet") - The insufficiency of Biden and the Democratic party as opposition to fascism - The utter disappointment that the two biggest dangers to human kind (nuclear weapons and climate change) were not subject to debate whatsoever Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
October 23, 2020
Episode 10: A Disheartening Reality from New Jersey to Afghanistan
This episode begins with Jon and Matt lamenting  the fact that their district is returning to in person learning and proceeds to an equally disheartening discussion about Matt's latest post about the never ending war in Afghanistan. Beers are consumed, indictments of American policy are made, and very few solutions are offered! Specifically discussed: -The fact that John and Matt are returning to in person teaching on Monday - The disappointing status of worker solidarity in the USA - The absurdity that is the 2 decade old war in Afghanistan  - The BS notion that Trump is antiwar.. He escalated the war in his early years significantly. He has had 4 years to end the war, yet hasn't had the will/political courage to do so (just as Obama didn't) - The mythologies that originally justified  and continue the war:       1) The Taliban and Al Qaeda are one in the same       2) The Taliban refused to give up Bin Laden        3) The Taliban never surrendered  - Why almost any excuse to stay in Afghanistan does not hold up to scrutiny from  the feigned concern about protecting women to the safe haven myth Mentioned on the podcast: Father son "feel good" story in Stars and Stripes Trump is NOT antiwar Glenn Greenwald on journalists' misuse of "confirmed" reports Gareth Porter's breakdown of the actual intelligence of the Russian bounties  Washington post story showing that the US did have ongoing negotiations with the Taliban and could have worked out a deal if there was sufficient will for diplomacy The Taliban tried to warn US about 9/11 Veteran Danny Sjursen's dissection of the concern for women that allegedly is a reason to stay in Afghanistan Our Work: Matt's Corresponding Post: Mythologies of The American War in Afghanistan  Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
October 16, 2020
Episode 9: Democrats 2020- Punching Left and Forgiving War Criminals!
This episode centers mostly on the Democratic party. Jon and Matt detail its total inadequacy as an opposition party, its pattern of punching left, and its very warped concept of forgiveness.  Specifically discussed: -The presidential and VP debate -  Biden and Harris attacking immensely popular ideas such as the green new deal and medicare for all while defending fracking - The terrible selection and framing of questions that were asked vs the incredibly important questions that were left out entirely - Why Trump's unpaid taxes are not at all surprising given the system that Democrats were instrumental in creating - Matt's Article about the Democrats seemingly inconsistent and hypocritical practice of forgiveness - The fact that  Julian Assange and Ralph Nader will never be forgiven by liberals, meanwhile they are more than willing to forgive war criminals from the Bush administration.    Mentioned on the podcast: Trump destroys Jeb Bush over Iraq war in 2016 Republican primary debates Democrats' complicity in wealth disparity Mehdi Hassan's detail of John Bolton's belligerence  2014 Princeton Study shows that United is an oligarchy NY mag article discusses how the issues that are even up for debate are shaped by the wealthy Left Wing Positions are very popular  Lawrence O'Donnell explains why the Democratic party will not respond to the left so long as the party can count on their votes Jon Schwarz's break down of Colin Powell's lying and manipulation of the UN David Frum shaming Iraqis for not appreciating the amazing offer that the US war had granted them Our Work: Matt's Corresponding Post: The Selective Forgiveness of the American Liberal Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
October 9, 2020
Episode 8: The Imaginary "Radical Left" American Educator
This episode continues the discussion of not just the problematic nature  but incredible stupidity  of Trump's proposal for "Patriotic Education." The hosts discuss Jon's newest article at In the Context of Empire, wherein he narrows in on Trump's claim that the "Radical Left" is indoctrinating American students. Discussed in this Episode: - Why Trump's belief in a "radical left" education system that indoctrinates children is incorrect from every measurable criterion - How the conception of "radical" is extremely subjective and often changes - How Trump plays into a long ugly history of American anti leftism Our Work:  Check out Jon's corresponding article: Schooling Trump on “Radical Left” Educators Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
October 2, 2020
Episode 7: Declaring War on "Patriotic Education"
Jon and Matt are joined by  Dan, our co-worker, good friend, and fellow educator, to discuss the responsibilities of being a history teacher in the United States. We discuss: - Trump's absurdly silly "patriotic education" manifesto - How many social studies teachers have been derelict at their duties  - Why there is absolutely no need to give "both sides" or play devil's advocate to all issues  - How Trump's pathological idea of American exceptionalism is already pervasive in nearly all institutions in society - The consequences of history teachers reaffirming a curriculum based in American exceptionalism Mentioned on the podcast:  Gerald Horne's Counter Revolution of 1776 Noam Chomsky on the "Salt water fallacy," the false idea that American imperialism did not begin until 1898. Corresponding Post: A Teacher's Declaration of War on Patriotic Education Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns. 
September 24, 2020
Episode 6: So Like... What's Your Solution Man?
In episode 6 we (Jon and Matt) address a hypothetical counter argument. Frequently, those drawing attention to the problems of American society are met with a response that demands that they also have a solution to these societal ills. We start by dismissing idea that it is incumbent upon person pointing out problems to also have a solution to those problems.  However, we do propose some policies that would likely shift our domestic and foreign policies in a far more beneficial direction. Some issues that we propose solutions for: The United States and its total disregard for international law and the ICC Mass Incarceration Extreme wealth inequality Unequal access to healthcare A culture that is disturbingly jingoistic and reverent of militarism while also willingly ignorant or accepting of extreme economic inequality Mentioned in the podcast: Listen Liberal and What's the Matter with Kansas by Thomas Frank We have a corresponding blog at Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns
September 18, 2020
Episode 5: The Tragic Lost Opportunities of September 9/11
On the eve of the 19th anniversary of September 11th, we do what we do best, provide context.  We discuss: Our own experiences on September 11th Bin Laden's actual grievances against the United States  (spoiler.. he did not hate our freedom)  The opportunity for reflection and redirection of its foreign policy that America wasted The War in Afghanistan: Why it did not need to happen in the first place, why the Taliban and Al Qaeda are totally different groups, and why the war is tragically purposeless  The utter pointlessness  of the chaos, death and destruction that the United States has engaged in since 9/11 and how it has harmed United States and the world . Mentioned in this podcast:  Ghost Riders of Baghdad by Danny Sjursen No Good Men Among the Living by Anand Gopal Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns Enjoy!
September 11, 2020
Episode 4: "We May Have Committed Some Light... Treason"- George Bluth
Continuing on the theme of words and power dynamics from episode 2,  we (Jon and Matt) narrow in on the word "treason." We discuss how it is used officially and colloquially, and point to the limits and contradictions within both characterizations of the word.  Furthermore, we urge caution when associating the Confederacy with treason, as the label groups the irredeemable white supremacists with some truly admirable people in American history. We assert historically, those labeled treasonous to the United States have actually been heroic, while those who committed those gravest betrayals of the American people often escaped judgement.  A new definition that prioritizes  loyalty to the American people and humanity at large over loyalty to the United States is needed.   Resources mentioned in the podcast:  Matt's article about Treason Mehdi Hassan's Discussion of the "moderate rebels" of Syria:  Alluded to regarding the American counterrevolution:  John Schwarz on Colin Powell's treason:  Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns
September 4, 2020
Episode 2: "How Many Words Does You Know" - Ali G
"How many words does you know"- Ali G to Noam Chomsky In episode two of "In the Context of Empire " We discuss words! We talk about how words & terms like "freedom," "terrorism," "looting", and "government handouts" are often used in ways that reinforce domestic and international power dynamics. They are weaponized by the powerful to punch down, while exonerating those guilty of much greater transgressions.  Enjoy!
September 2, 2020
Episode 3- Right Wing Snowflakes
We (Jon and Matt) discuss: - Jon's misadventures with the local police - Right wing snowflakes - A former student's confrontation with a local mayor - The obvious charlatanism of Trump -The inadequateness of the Democratic Party's opposition - The reason that US history teachers have a responsibility to destroy American exceptionalism FYI  this was recorded outside so there is some cricket noise. If you can get past that, we think you'll enjoy it! Give it a listen!
September 2, 2020
Episode 1 - The Road from Beer to Mass Murder
In the premier episode of "In the Context of Empire," we (Jon and Matt) discuss beer, American exceptionalism, international double standards, the American relationship with freedom and genocide, and many other cheerful topics! The articles referenced in this podcast can be found at The Deceptive Nature of the Red White and Blue: Extermination Nation:
September 2, 2020